Having seen much larger companies than itself run into trouble (most notably BP), Vodafone has decided to partner with Russia's largest cell phone operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) rather than make direct investments. The deal will allow MTS access to products, services and devices from Vodafone, as well as drawing on Vodafone's significant expertise on building and deploying HSPA networks.
On the upside for Vodafone is that it will gain valuable insight into the Russian and CIS markets--some of the fastest growing in the world, and make its co-branded products available to more than million MTS customers in Russia. The company has more than 40 partners of this kind around the world, particularly in Eastern Europe where products are dual-branded, and the strategy has proven successful. Vodafone said it would also open a representative office in Moscow to co-operate more closely with MTS on future offerings and customer services.
Separately, Vodafone has announced it would increase its stake in Polkomtel, the Polish mobile operator, from 19.6 per cent to 24.4 per cent to provide it with more exposure to the fast-growing Polish market.
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